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Afternoon reading: Habs in the outhouse? (?)

If you’re looking for some light, questionable, mildly objectionable reading, here’s an article from Chris Zelkovich in today’s Toronto Star:

Iconic teams tumble from penthouse to outhouse

People in Toronto often wonder why other parts of the country take issue with what is, without question, a great city: here’s a perfect example of why. Here, the Star’s columnist compares the Canadiens to the Islanders and Dolphins, and writes as if they’ve been 30th in the NHL for a decade. Taking shots at a team when they’re down is one thing - suggesting they’re bottom of the barrel, and alluding to them as an embarrassment, is another.

Sure, no Stanley Cups since 1993, but remember, the Canadiens were first in the East in 2008.

Interesting to note there is little mention of the Maple Leafs, of whom you could make the same, if not a much, much stronger argument.


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DocF's avatar

OK, so you don’t like a Toronto columnist stating the obvious about the Canadiens.  How about a fan in North Carolina, where I will freely admit our NHL franchise sucks.  The Canadiens get worse and worse do to lousy management and lousy fans.  When the fan base is more worried about having a coach speak French than about his ability to turn a team around, they deserved to be bottom feeders.


Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 01/21/12 at 05:28 PM ET


Doc, fair enough, they’re having a bad year - but comparing a bad year or two, after a couple of pretty good ones, to teams at the bottom for decades? Doesn’t seem a tad out of context?

As for the coach issue -  imagine the Canes coach spoke only Hindi, and you had no idea what they were saying at press conferences without a translator, they weren’t quoted in the paper often because the reporters couldn’t translate quotes easily, and the Canes were the centre of life in North Carolina. How would you, or a major fan of the franchise, feel?

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 01/21/12 at 05:39 PM ET

LumberingD's avatar

So it is okay for the reporters covering the team to only speak one language but not for the coach?  Why not suggest the reports learn english or the media hire bi-lingual reporters.

Posted by LumberingD on 01/21/12 at 06:06 PM ET


LumberingD - not sure how familiar you are with Quebec, but the language is French. Yes, there are some areas with French and English, but by far the majority of the population is French. There are literally hundreds of thousands of Quebeckers who do not speak a word of English and cannot understand a word Cunneyworth says (and I know a few, so I can verify this). Given the fact that their home’s mother tongue is French, does it not stand to reason that the face of the franchise that is their spiritual identity speak French as well?

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 01/21/12 at 06:08 PM ET

LumberingD's avatar

I am French, although raised in the west, so yes I understand “a little” about Quebec.  I just strongly feel that the coaches ability to communicate with the players outweighs the importance for him to communicate with the media.  But, its different in Montreal, and not just the language.

Posted by LumberingD on 01/21/12 at 06:19 PM ET


LumberingD: I would have agreed with you in 1950 or even 1970, but in 2012, with social media and communication galore, the coach isn’t just communicating with the players, he’s communicating with the fan base. A Russian speaking coach would never work for the Maple Leafs, and a German speaking coach would never work for the Oilers. I don’t know why people seem to think an English coach should just work for Montreal. It won’t, and as silly as it may seem to some, for those living in Quebec it is a real issue. They feel detached from the team they love.

Personally, I feel that if they had inserted a high profile veteran assistant who was Francophone, that might have worked. But this set up, as it is now, will never succeed as a long term solution for the Canadiens. You’re absolutely right: it is different in Montreal.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 01/21/12 at 06:26 PM ET

socalwingnut's avatar

Well, the management in Montreal knew the culture and politics, so their hiring of an Anglophone at this time was insensitive to their fan base. The Canadiens’  fan base is not like other fan bases in the NHL and those of us on the outside of the culture are ignorant of this as a hot-button issue. Clearly it’s important and no matter how long Quebecois try to explain it, we’ll probably never get it. If I were Randy Cunneyworth, I’d order a copy of Quebec French from Rosetta Stone and let it leak out that I did so. Sometimes a little effort will buy you some good will.

To the issue at hand, here is a Toronto write trying to stir it up before a big game. He’s selling papers and generating web hits, which may be his true goal.

Posted by socalwingnut on 01/21/12 at 06:44 PM ET


Socalwingnut: Cunneyworth actually bought Rosette Stone over Christmas. Sadly, it didn’t seem to get much media attention, but he and his family are apparently using it daily.

Posted by The Upper Canadien from Toronto on 01/21/12 at 08:27 PM ET


The organization can get by just fine with our without a French speaking coach or GM. That being said, the Habs have a responsibility as the beacon of Hockey in Quebec to help the locals out. That’s just flat out how it is.

The Habs are a huge part of life up North and they have to give some back to the community that fills their coffers and supports them through thick and thin.

And yeah… that means someone in the place has to speak French and they need to make a special effort to fill the roster with local talent. That’s just the way it is. and that’s part of what makes this team special.

Take that away and they might as well be the Canes or the Ducks or some other team no one cares about…

Posted by Marc10 on 01/21/12 at 10:17 PM ET

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About The Upper Canadien

The Upper Canadien is your one stop shop for all things Montreal Canadiens. Since the summer of 2010, I've been providing Habs related news, notes, and most importantly, opinions. As a blogger, I don't believe it's my job to report the news, it's my privilege to comment on it. You may disagree with what I suggest. In fact, you most likely will. But that's the great part about blogging: it spurs opinion, comment and engages all involved. I've really enjoyed all the debate and commentary from readers thus far and I encourage everyone to respond with ideas on lineups, trades, logos, sweaters, mascots, whatever. The Upper Canadien is a conversation for all hockey fanatics.

I've come to Kukla's Korner with four years of campus radio and three years of sportswriting from my time at Mount Allison University on Canada's East coast. Not only do I not have any professional journalistic training, after five years in the corporate world, I've spent much of the past two years completing an MBA. Business by day, hockey by night, I'm a Canadiens fan through and through. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I do writing.

Questions or comments? theuppercanadien@kuklaskorner.com